When deciding to learn to dance, one key thing we have to decide on is are we going to take private or group lessons. One thing that usually confronts most aspiring dancers is the large difference in price between the two.

Rather than comparing the two, we’ve decided to give you a bit of an insight into what makes up the costs of a private dance lesson, and to help you understand why one dance studio offers a private dance lesson at $70 per lesson and why another charges $175 per lesson.

Armed with this information, you can now decide whether or not private dance lessons are expensive! Better still, you’ll be able to make a fairer comparison across different studios too.

At its simplest, there are three main components that make up the price of your private dance lesson. Two components being the type of studio and labour costs have the biggest impact.

Type of studio

While you have been doing your research, you see that some studios have their own dedicated studio space, while others operate out of the community centre, RSL club and local school hall. There are even some that operate out of creative spaces or “shared” studios.

The space your chosen dance school uses will have the biggest influence on your private lesson price. We’ve put them into two categories to help give you a better understanding.

Category 1

This is an individual teacher or dance school that runs the business out of school halls, community centres, RSL clubs or other studios.

  • Has the advantage of lower hourly rental costs
  • Generally easy to get to and has parking available
  • Main disadvantage limited lesson availability
  • Only operates on select days of the week

Costs – typically $25 to $50 per hour depending on location and size of space hired.

Category 2

A full-time dance school with its own dedicated studio space.

  • has higher hourly rental costs
  • Generally operates at least 6 days per week
  • Greater operating hours and therefore better lesson availability

Costs – typically $65 to $140 per hour depending on location and size of studio.

Labour costs

The second aspect that influences the price is the labour component of the lesson. While the resourcing aspects of a studio can be complex, we’ve put this into two categories of casual staff and full-time staff for simplicity.

Category 1

Following on from the earlier section, the category 1 dance school usually only hires casual staff, which work around the client or group class schedule.

  • Don’t have the same availability as a full-time studio
  • Sometimes works across multiple studios/locations
  • Remunerated at a higher rate due to the casual nature of the role.

Costs – typically $30 to $80 per hour

Category 2

The category 2 type dance school usually hires full-time permanent staff. These staff are working during the studio operating hours regardless of whether lessons are booked or not.

  • Usually only work for a single studio
  • Have ongoing training
  • Greater client availability

Costs – typically $20 to $40 per hour.

General running costs

As for the general running costs of a dance school, the category it falls under will again influence the extent of those costs. That said, for simplicity, we’ve just included an all inclusive average rate to cover things such as administration, music licencing, insurances, electricity etc.

Costs – typically $5 to $20 per lesson.

The total cost

When you add up all of the components, you will quickly see the costs for a dance school to provide a private lesson certainly adds up. And that is before there is any consideration of profit margin. Looking at the numbers:

Category 1

Looking at this type of studio and using prices within the middle of the range, the cost to the studio to provide a single private lesson would be approximately $75.

Category 2

Using the same middle of the range, the cost to the studio to provide a single private lesson would be approximately $140.

Multiple concurrent lessons

You might rightfully ask the question, but the studio I’m considering teaches more than one private lesson at a time, so wouldn’t that mean the costs are less?

It’s a good question, and the answer depends a little on whether the dance studio falls in category 1 or 2.

Typically, the category 1 dance studio hires a space on a 1 student/couple 1 teacher basis. If they were to offer more, the space hired would be larger and the hire cost would also increase.

For the category 2 dance studio, while they may teach more than one lesson concurrently, you’ll find that this usually occurs during peak periods only. The peak period is usually between 5pm and 7:30pm on weekdays.

In our example above, the average hire rate for this type of studio has been averaged out over the full day of trading, not just periods which lessons are being taught, which is the case for category 1 dance studios.

How to decide which one is right

Now that you understand private dance lesson pricing, you are trying to figure out which studio is right for you. You don’t really want to make that decision on price alone. While the price is an important factor, you should also consider if there are other things included in the lesson price, or does it simply cover the private lesson only.

Other things you should also consider are location, accessibility, availability for lessons, styles, teaching method etc.

Next week, we go into some detail about the different pricing options for dance lessons to help you on your journey of procuring dance lessons.